updated 12:00 am EST, Wed January 6, 2010
HP EliteBook, ProBook get major speedups
HP with its CES introductions today has focused most on upgrades to its high-end professional notebook. The EliteBook 8440p, 8440w, 8540p and 8540w all use the familiar aluminum/magnesium chassis but get dramatic performance updates: they replace the Core 2 Duo with either mobile Core i7 or new Core i5 processors. All four are home to brand new NVIDIA Quadro FX and NVS graphics cores that should provide faster 3D rendering.
All models are hardened to the US military's 810F specifications for dust, water and shock resistance. They all also have between 250GB and 500GB of storage and get options like 3G data access.
The 8440p and 8440w both have 14-inch displays with the option of either a Quadro NVS 3100M on the p variant and Quadro FX 380M video on the w. The two 8540 variants carry larger 15.6-inch displays and also upgrade to either the NVS 5100M on the 8540p as well as FX 880M or 1800M video on the 8540w. Configurations aren't specified but start at $1,299.
At the mid-range, the ProBooks get new 14-inch 6440b and 15.6-inch 6540b models. They use a less expensive chassis, start with 160GB hard drives and have a more conventional Mobility Radeon HD 4550 as their optional graphics upgrade but still have the Core i5/i7, 500GB drive and 3G choices. Such a simpler design helps HP drop the starting price to $1,099.
Both the EliteBook and ProBook revisions are due to ship in February.